Dwayne Smith has had a change in role at Gujarat Lions of late and he is bowling more than usual.
In fact, in the last couple of matches, he has bowled the maximum number of overs that a bowler can bowl which is 4 and, his 6 scalps at an average of 8 has justified it too.
Also, in batting, his slot has been swapped with that of Aaron Finch whose placement in the middle order did not pay any dividends.
Smith was having problems at the top too tackling the extra pace up front and it was probably in the interests of both and also, of the team that the alteration of the batting positions of the two was done.
So, the role of Smith, going into the playoffs, is now of an all-rounder who will be bowling with the new ball and batting maybe at 5 with a licence to go for the kill.
Because of Smith bowling as much as he is, Gujarat would go a bowler less in Qualifier 1 in Bangalore and get that inexperienced lower middle order packed with an extra batting resource in the form of an Indian domestic batsman. (more…)
Ian Bell would be pretty disappointed that he could not take advantage of the start that he had managed to get in on a green seaming wicket at Edgbaston on the first day of the third test match.
After Australia was bowled out for just 136, England lost one of the openers and Bell came on to bat at his new position of no. 3.
He was willing to dominate straightaway and was playing his shots.
But, just for a second while facing the off spinner Nathan Lyon, he got a bit reckless or that cost him his wicket.
He was on 54 and could easily have gone on to convert that into a century, but, a rush of blood made him go down the track to Lyon who was smart enough to drag the length of the delivery just a little bit to ensure Bell does not get to the pitch of it.
The ball dipped on Bell and he only ended up lofting the ball in the air to be caught at the short midwicket position.
Not too many overs were remaining in the day’s play at that point of time. In fact, only 10 minutes after that, a rain break saw the umpires calling it the stumps. So, Bell would be sitting in the dressing room and would be kicking himself for the shot that he went for. (more…)
The difference between the England squad that had played in the Ashes series 2013-14 and the England squad of now is the number of impact players that are there.
The guys playing at 6, 7 and 8 for England at the moment plays at such a brisk pace that their presence at the crease for even a couple of hours can be enough to get the team in a good position.
This was missing the last time around when the Three Lions had gone to Australia.
It was all about England’s top 4 back then. Once they were gone, the Aussies would be just blowing away the lower middle order.
And, that was the main reason, in none of the 5 test matches; England was able to put a good score on the board.
Test match Cricket is indeed a format where patience matters the most, but, counter attack is also a vital thing.
You’ve got to have players who can take the attack back to the opposition when needed.
So, it’s been pretty smart of the England selectors to give those sorts of players a go this summer.
There was a strong case of Ben Stokes not to be selected and Chris Woakes to be preferred over him as the Warwickshire all rounder had such a great last season.
And, on the other hand, the three test matches that Stokes had played the previous summer, he had a horror of a time. He was getting out on ducks.
So, to still show the faith in him, it’s a very positive decision. (more…)
The Chennai Super Kings always play the same way irrespective of the fact that they win or lose.
After the failure of their batting the other day, it was thought they would be a little circumspect in the away game versus the Royal Challengers Bangalore, but, that wasn’t the case at all.
The men in Yellow went as hard as they normally do and batting first on a placid track, posted a score in excess of 180 which turned out to be match winning one at the end.
This is one of the best qualities of the Super Kings. They don’t panic.
You see with the other teams, when they lose a couple, they very quickly try to change their game plan, their combinations and all, but, not Chennai.
The team management has got such a lot of faith in the first choice players that unless one of them gets injured, the playing XI remains the game.
And, there is a fixed role for every player in the CSK squad. It’s not that you would see the role changing.
The openers and the no. 3 attack, the middle order consolidates and then there is some muscle work again at the end.
Similarly, in bowling as well, some swinging stuff with the new ball, then the spinners come in and try and exploit the help in the pitch if there is any and then, there are change ups in the death with slower deliveries and low full tossed ones being dished out. (more…)